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Post-Election Employment Law Roundup

I’m sure everyone is suffering from a post-election hangover
today, so I wanted to just post a quick roundup of a couple interesting
employment law issues. One post covers an interesting caveat when it comes to
disability discrimination suits, and the other looks at whether a workers
compensation claim precludes a simultaneous negligence action.

First, the Employer Handbook looks at whether an employee
can sue an employer under the ADA when the employer doesn’t know about the
employee’s disability
. In the case in question, an HIV-positive employee was
fired from his position as a nurse after a resident who was in his care care
broke her leg. The court in the case found that the requirement under the ADA that
a plaintiff show he was disabled extended to requiring that the employer know
of the disability in order for there to be a viable claim. In this case, the
nursing home didn’t know the employee was HIV-positive, and therefore it was
impossible the firing was motivated by his disability. As such, he couldn’t
maintain a viable ADA claim. So for employees with a “hidden” disability- make
sure your employer knows at the time you are hired or injured.

Next, the Georgia Workers Compensation Blog looks
at whether an employee injured at work by another employee’s negligence can sue
for damages when he or she is also covered by workers compensation
. In the
case, one construction worker was shot by another while working on a house in a
new subdivision. The worker who did the shooting wasn’t working on the
construction project at the time. The worker who was shot filed a workers
compensation claim against the construction company, and later settled in a no
liability stipulation (which results in compensation but no admission of fault
on the part of the employer). When the injured employee sued the worker who
shot him, he was met with the exclusive remedy defense- the idea that his
exclusive remedy for work-related injuries was a workers compensation claim
because the injury was in the course of his employment. The court found that
because the shooting was an act that arose outside the scope of employment, the
negligence suit was not barred by the exclusive remedy defense. As such,
employers who are injured by another worker on the job should be careful to not
limit their potential remedies by assigning blame for the injury too early in
the litigation process.

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